The San Francisco 49ers are on a roll — winning four of their last five games and looking to finish the second half with more wins than losses and (potentially) the quarterback situation solved with Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to stop all of that, get their 11th win of the season, and secure the division title before Week 17.
But how best do you stop the 49ers on offense and defense? I sat down with David Fucillo, one of the Managing Editors at Niners Nation and he gave me some insight into how the Jaguars might have prepared coming into this week’s matchup.
Attacking the 49ers offense: This has changed with the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo. Previously, the simple answer was bring the house in the pass rush, giving C.J. Beathard no time to make a decision. Garoppolo is having success when under pressure, with a QB rating over 100 this past week when the Tennessee Titans pressured him. That being said, this week's matchup presents Garoppolo with more of a challenge against the Jaguars' high quality cornerbacks. I don't imagine Garoppolo will have nearly as much success under pressure when facing the Jaguars cornerback duo. The 49ers wide receivers have shown some improvement this season, but this is their biggest test to date. They have been getting off the line well, particularly Marquise Goodwin with his game-breaking speed. Getting physical with him, slowing him off the line could be a critical way to slow down the 49ers offense.
But beyond that, letting them make mental mistakes has worked well for others. The 49ers have won three straight games, but it has come in spite of red zone problems. The 49ers have moved the ball quite well under Garoppolo, but they regularly bog down inside the 20. There's a reason Robbie Gould became the first kicker in NFL history to convert 15 field goal attempts in a three-game span. And it is primarily because of penalties. The Jaguars can create pressure, but letting the 49ers beat themselves is not the worst idea in the world.
Attacking the 49ers defense: Go after the cornerbacks. Ahkello Witherspoon and Dontae Johnson have their moments of success, but inconsistency has been an issue. If they get beat, holding penalties become an issue, so pushing the ball down the field is the Jaguars best bet. Leonard Fournette is doing a solid job for the Jaguars, but run defense is where the 49ers excel. It is worth noting they have struggled against running backs in pass catching roles, with Football Outsiders ranking them No. 29.